Previews

BENAVIDEZ landed the bigger punches vs Herrera. / Photo: Sumio Yamada

I posted some of these thoughts on Twitter but I’ll repeat them here.
 
Disputed decisions have long been a part of boxing but they seem to coming thick and fast these days.
 
Some of these controversies are, I believe, TV-driven in that fans just go along with the commentaries.
 
I think too much attention is paid to the punch stats. These don’t measure the effectiveness of a blow and, as Al Bernstein has pointed out more than once, if a boxer lands several more punches in, say, three rounds, but his opponent outlands him significantly in another round, the stats are going to be skewed.

PACQUIAO, ALGIERI: A long fight looks likely. / Photo: Sumio Yamada
Pacquiao -750; Algieri +425
Over 9.5 -125; under 9.5 +115

The opponent he faces tonight is a capable and courageous one, but with all due respect to Chris Algieri, the fight the boxing world wants to see is Manny Pacquiao taking on Floyd Mayweather. 
 
Pacquiao against Mayweather would quite likely be the richest fight in boxing history. Although Pacquiao is promoted by HBO and Mayweather by Showtime, Pacquaio’s promoter, Bob Arum, doesn’t see this as an obstacle to the fight being made. It is Arum’s understanding that the two giant U.S. subscription TV networks would work together to make the fight happen. That is to say, each network would broadcast the event on pay-per-view and fans could choose which network coverage they wished to watch.

HOPKINS, KOVALEV: Win lose, Hopkins's legacy is assured. / Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Hopkins +170; Kovalev -220
Over 11.5 +120; under 11.5 -120

Time after time, fight after fight, fans and critics wonder if Bernard Hopkins will finally show his age and “grow old overnight” as the saying goes. And time after time, fight after fight, the answer is: Not this time.
 
Hopkins is a marvel of the ring, a unique fighter whose like surely will never be seen again. Now, just a couple of months before he turns 50, Hopkins seeks to demonstrate his ageless qualities once again when he faces Russia’s undefeated and powerful punching Sergey Kovalev in a light-heavyweight championship unification bout at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City on Saturday.
 

MAYWEATHER, MAIDANA; Challenger will give his all. / Photo: SUMIO YAMADA
Mayweather -750; Maidana +380
Over 11.5 -250; under 11.5 +185

When the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana rematch was announced, I struggled to get enthused. As always happens though, by fight day — today — I’m intrigued.
 
Last time the two met, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where the rematch will take place — Showtime PPV in the States and BoxNation subscription-TV coverage in the U.K. — Mayweather pulled away in the late rounds for what seemed to be a clear win. Hold on a minute, though. One judge had the fight a draw and there were observers who made this a close fight. So, here we go again.
 

KIKO seeks revenge, FRAMPTON guarantees a win.
Frampton -200; Martinez +160
Over 10.5 +105; under 10.5 -115

Carl Frampton, fighting at home in Belfast, is favoured to confirm superiority and take Kiko Martinez’s IBF junior featherweight championship in their rematch on Saturday (TV coverage on BoxNation in Britain and AWE in the U.S.),  but Martinez is fighting better than at any stage in his career, with three consecutive stoppage wins in title fights.
 
Although Frampton stopped the Spanish boxer in the ninth round in Belfast in February 2013, he will arguably face a much more formidable version of Martinez.

GLYN LEACH: Boxing Monthly editor will be missed by all who knew him.

It’s been 24 hours since I learned of Glyn Leach’s passing at the far too young age of 54 and I still can’t quite get over it. It’s almost as if I’m expecting the phone to ring and to hear his voice: “Well, what did you make of Kell Brook, then?”
 
Glyn was more than a colleague of many years standing but a true friend. I worked with him in the original offices of Boxing Monthly at Notting Hill Gate in west London from 1991/92, when I was editing the magazine, but in reality I was helping Glyn to make the transition from assistant editor to editor. Glyn took over when I re-crossed the Atlantic in 1992 and he became perhaps the longest-term editor of a boxing magazine that Britain has ever known — a remarkable 22-year run, although it helped that he was his own boss as co-owner of the magazine, after the original publishing company dissolved.

PORTER, BROOK: Well-matched fight. / Photo: Esther Lin, Showtime
Porter -175; Brook +145
Over 10.5 -130; under 10.5 +115

British welterweights John H. Stracey and Lloyd Honeyghan were huge underdogs when they travelled to Mexico City and Atlantic City respectively to win world titles.
 
Kell Brook isn’t nearly such a big outsider when he meets Shawn Porter in an IBF title bout at the StubHub Center in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson, CA, on Saturday, but he is an underdog nonetheless.

CANELO, LARA: Long, tense fight looks likely. / Photo: SUMIO YAMADA
Alvarez -150; Lara +130
Over 9.5 -195; under 9.5 +155

Saturday’s big PPV fight between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Erislandy Lara should tell us a lot about Canelo. The ginger-haired Mexican superstar was disappointing against Floyd Mayweather Jr. but came back to beat up Alfredo Angulo. If Canelo is destined for greatness he should be able to win this 12-round junior middleweight match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
 
Canelo opened as just a -140 favourite but money has been coming in on him and his current price is around -200. I agree with the Canelo money. While this fight is intriguing and evenly matched, I’m going with Canelo.

COTTO, MARTINEZ: fascinating fight. Photo: CHRIS FARINA, Top Rank
Martinez -185; Cotto +155
Over 10.5 -160; under 10.5 +140

Having won titles at light-welter, welter and light-middleweight, Miguel Cotto attempts to become the first Puerto Rican four-weight world champion when he moves up to the middleweight division to challenge Sergio Martinez for the WBC title at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
 
Martinez is bigger, but Cotto has some things in his favour, not least that New York City’s huge Puerto Rican population means that he effectively has hometown advantage.
 

FROCH, GROVES: No love lost between British rivals.
Froch -125; Groves +100
Over 11.5 -+120; under 11.5 -140

There are times when a fight ends in such an unsatisfactory fashion that a rematch gets made by public demand. This is the situation with the return fight between Carl Froch and George Groves, which takes place at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, with Sky Sports televising on PPV in the U.K. while HBO will be showing the fight for viewers in the U.S.
 
Froch, who will be defending his WBA “super world” and IBF 168lbs titles, felt he had proved superiority with last November’s ninth-round win — but few agreed.

MAYWEATHER; MAIDANA: Another masterclass looks likely. / Photo: TOM CASINO for Showtime
Mayweather -1250; Maidana +500
Over 10.5 -200; under 10.5 +160

When there is an upset in boxing there are usually clues — even if well-hidden ones — as to what might happen. A betting favourite might be looking past his opponent, or he might be under-prepared, or over-confident, or struggling to make weight, or perhaps beset by distractions outside the ring. He may be showing signs of slippage. Unfortunately for underdog Marcos Maidana, none of the above applies to Floyd Mayweather, who defends his WBC welterweight title, undefeated record and superstar status against the Argentinean slugger at the MGM Grand tonight; Maidana will be risking his WBA “super world” title and seeking to pull off a life-changing victory.
 
Try as we might, we cannot find any hint as to how Maidana can pull off a monumental surprise.

BURNS, CRAWFORD: Emotion-charged atmosphere could be factor.
Burns +150; Crawford -180
Over 10.5 -185; under 10.5 +155

After two struggling performances in a row, Ricky Burns knows he will need to be at his absolute best when he defends his WBO lightweight title against mandatory challenger Terence Crawford in Glasgow on Saturday (TV on Sky Sports in the UK., AWE in the U.S.).
 
This fight is, potentially, about as tough and as tricky as it gets. Burns will have a roaring Scottish crowd behind him at the Scottish National Exhibition Centre, and he’s the more experienced and perhaps the physically stronger fighter; Crawford is unbeaten, fast, clever and a sharp puncher, and, at 26, he’s the younger man by four years.